We know that the Coronavirus is a respiratory virus, transmitted by respiratory droplets that might come in contact with your nose, mouth or eyes. That presents some unique challenges for the dental profession, as the area you have been warned to keep covered this last month is where we need to work.
I would like to share with you what additional precautions we have had in place since March of this year.
- Upon arrival, we take temperatures (on ourselves, as well as our patients) and do a short health assessment to determine whether we are well enough to work, and patients are well enough to have treatment. Patients will also be asked to use our hand sanitizer before and after treatment.
- Our reception area has been streamlined, with magazines and toys removed for now. Several chairs have also been temporarily relocated, so that any wait, albeit short, can be “socially distanced”. We have added a “sneeze barrier” between our front office staff and our reception area.
- Surfaces such as countertops, door handles, reception chair arms, restroom surfaces, etc. will be sanitized regularly throughout the day.
- All staff wear masks, whether they are greeting you in reception, or working in the treatment areas. We hope that this is a temporary measure because we hate hiding our smiles!
- We have multiple dispensers for hand sanitizer located throughout the office, and we are happy to share!
- We are all “infection control” nerds here (check out my previous blog about what we were already doing for “infection control” well before Covid-19 came on the scene). If you’re the kind of person that has always used hand sanitizer in a restaurant AFTER you’re done touching the menu, or wiped down surfaces on your airplane seat and hotel room before it became fashionable—you’ll fit in just fine here!
With respect to our treatment areas:
- High volume air purifiers have been installed in each treatment room and in the reception area (see photo on left above). These purifiers are designed to completely recirculate the air every 12 minutes. Additionally, fans have been installed behind the head of each chair, to gently direct whatever droplet spray may remain in the air towards the high-powered air purifier.
- Although we have always worn masks, for certain procedures that generate more water spray, we have incorporated the use of face shields for the staff.
- During the performance of certain procedures, we may be using a protective barrier known as a “rubber dam”, again in an effort to reduce the generation of droplet spray.
- In between appointments, medical grade "foggers" are used for sanitizing of any "aerosols" generated by dental procedures.
We are proud of what we do protect our patients and ourselves. I hope that you will feel free to ask questions about what we are doing to protect our patients as well as ourselves. Be well and we look forward to seeing you soon!